CLEMSON, S.C. — Some around the country wonder if DJ Uiagalelei should still be No. 5 Clemson’s starting quarterback after his performance in last week’s win over No. 16 Syracuse.
Uiagalelei turned the ball over three times in the first three quarters, before being pulled for freshman Cade Klubnik. Uiagalelei threw an interception to kill a drive in the first quarter. He then fumbled at the Orange’s three-yard line which resulted in a 90-yard scoop-and-score in the second quarter and then made a bad read and bad throw with a third-quarter interception.
Swinney said after the game he pulled Uiagalelei because he could not allow him to turn the ball over a fourth time, and he also needed a spark, which Klubnik provided in rallying the Tigers from 11-points down.
However, after the game, Swinney quickly told ESPN’s Molly McGrath that Uiagalelei was still his starting quarterback, and this was his team. Klubnik reiterated his coach’s comments and said he was following Uiagalelei’s lead.
Yet, analyst and others who cover college football, are now questioning Clemson’s quarterback situation and wonder if Swinney will have Uiagalelei on a short rope despite the fact the Tigers’ quarterback had played nearly flawless for much of the season prior to last Saturday.
Some say Clemson’s uncertainty at quarterback should keep the Tigers out of the College Football Playoff discussion. The problem with that narrative is that there is no uncertainty with Clemson’s quarterback situation.
Uiagalelei is the Tigers’ starting quarterback.
“That’s kind of his story right now because of all the stuff coming into the season. He didn’t have a good day, but he has played really well,” Swinney said. “There’s no way we’re 8-0 without him. He has been a great leader and has made plays with his legs and his arm. We don’t have any control over that stuff.”
Uiagalelei and Clemson will try to change that narrative when the Tigers face Notre Dame on Nov. 5 in South Bend, Indiana.